Public recommendations for Lane County Justice Center. by Pat Farr

Tuesday, February 4th, 2020

Extensive input on construction of the new Lane County Court House and associated services is happening

 

Since the last update provided to the Board on September 24, 2019, staff has conducted an online survey and coordinated eight public outreach sessions in Eugene, Springfield, Oakridge, Florence, Cottage Grove, and Veneta. Review of survey results and information gathering during outreach sessions show several clear themes from the participating residents:

• Be reasonable and practical – we don’t need anything flashy

• Put safety first – getting justice shouldn’t be dangerous

• Fair and equal access – for fairness, everyone must be able to use this building – jurors, victims, defendants, and staff

• Ensure privacy – include spaces that are safe and allow people to meet with lawyers privately, access Victim Services, and have confidential conversations

• Spend wisely – get our money’s worth by building efficiently and with quality materials

Website for information on Lane County Courthouse.

 

 

Lane County identifies camping area outside downtown Eugene core in response to safety, sanitation and security concerns. by Pat Farr

Sunday, October 28th, 2018

 

Lane County is working to address homelessness

“I have never been so disappointed in Lane County before…”

“I am continually cleaning up feces and other garbage from (my place of business)…”

“Lane  County needs to spend more time on action and less on surveys and talk…”

“Aren’t you tired of just talking about it…”

I sat silently Friday morning (October 26, 2018) as Eugene business people expressed their concerns and anger about homeless camping on public open space in the downtown core of Eugene.

The well-attended meeting (I was a non-participating guest) was a presentation by city staff and others to the Chamber of Commerce’s Local Government Affairs Committee about a homeless dusk-to-dawn camping proposal being considered by the City of Eugene to be located on the now-vacant former City Hall block downtown Eugene. View story here.

I personally decided then and there that action needed to be taken…today.  (I was not alone in recognizing the urgency for action).  I cancelled the rest of my work and activity for the day and focused on finding a way to not only respond to the concerns and demand for action expressed at the meeting I was attending, but to help find a safe, sanitary and more private location as an alternative place  for people to sleep.

Two hours later, County Administration had found a location on county land inside the city of Eugene and six hours later we were meeting with neighbors of the site to explain the county’s intentions.  The outreach to neighbors, as of this writing, is ongoing.

Working with Lane County Sheriff’s Department, Eugene Police, Lane County Public Works, Eugene City Manager’s Office and others the site was prepared before the end of the business day–a day that had started with the early meeting and quotes cited above.

This is not the ideal place or manner to address homelessness.  Lane County’s focus is on permanent housing and our efforts continue in cooperation with Lane County cities, the state of Oregon, the Federal Government, local nonprofits and businesses to add more housing at all levels to provide permanent and supportive housing.

But finding a place for men, women and children to sleep safely at night, with access to toilets and security, is a necessary part of keeping all parts of our cities and our county safe and accessible to all of the people who live here.

Not every comment at Friday’s meeting was negative.  In fact, most of the people in the room expressed and stated a clear understanding of the need to safely house people.

“As a group we have to champion this and make sure it is a success…”

“This is a start, we have to use this as an opportunity…”

“It is an important first step…”

Orderly sanctioned camp sites on Lane County property

Toilets, trash and recycle, fresh water and sanitation being added to reduce neighborhood impact

Cameras and 24-hour monitoring were added for safety and security

The step is taken and the work continues…

Read the Register-Guard associated article here.

 

Eclipse in Lane County: tips for your safety on August 21 2017. by Pat Farr

Tuesday, August 15th, 2017

The eclipse in Lane County will look something like this

Eclipse tips for Lane County residents

Lane County is gearing up to help residents and visitors make the most of the 2017 solar eclipse on August 21st!
With much of Lane County at or close to ninety-nine percent totality we have a great opportunity to view the eclipse without fighting traffic and the risk of being stuck on the road during the event,” said Lane County Emergency Manager Linda Cook. “We encourage residents to enjoy the eclipse from a location near them – a backyard, balcony or similar place can provide a great and convenient view.”

Tips for Lane County residents during the eclipse:

• Consider the eclipse a multi-day event with increased traffic and visitors between August 16 and August 23.
• We are on the “path to the path” of totality. Roads on and off major highways might be busier than usual August 16–23 so be sure to pack your patience!
• Keep your cool and be kind in crowds and traffic. It’s sort of like a busy holiday that only comes once every 100 years or so. (The next total solar eclipse to cross Oregon will happen in 2169!)
• Don’t get stuck! Bypass the lines by filling up your gas tank and grocery shopping early in the week before the eclipse.
• Be patient with the internet, the ATM and your cell phone. With the increased number of visitors, internet and cellular service may become slow or overwhelmed (especially on Monday).
• Don’t fall for a fake: wear certified glasses made to protect your eyes from an eclipse. Learn more from NASA at https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov/safety.
Reminders for visitors during the eclipse:
• Pack ahead. Skip the lines and make food, beverage and other purchases before you leave.
• Remember cellular service is limited in much of Lane County and Oregon.
• Bring a printed map in case cellular service is slow or unavailable.
• Help keep Lane County green: If you packed it in, pack it out.
• Be water wise and carry plenty with you.
Know the tides if you visit the beach during the eclipse. Tidal changes affect rivers too.
• Know where your safety areas are & be familiar with tsunami evacuation routes on the coast.
• Be aware of beach hazards: keep an eye on the waves & don’t play on logs as they can shift and injure climbers.

 

Thanks Sergeant Carrie Carver, Lane County Sheriff’s Department, for these tips and text…

Maintaining jail beds and critical youth services. by Pat Farr

Thursday, February 2nd, 2017

 

The revolving door at the back of the jail has been closed.  Lane County Commissioners are asking to keep it that way.

Signing the board order: In the Matter of renewing the public safety 5-year option levy

Signing the board order: In the Matter of renewing the public safety 5-year option levy

IN THE MATTER OF REFERRING A RENEWAL OF THE PUBLIC SAFETY FIVE YEAR LOCAL OPTION LEVY TO THE VOTERS OF LANE COUNTY TO MAINTAIN JAIL BEDS AND CRITICAL YOUTH SERVICES

You can see the signed board order 17-01-31-01 authorizing placing the measure on May 17, 1017 ballot here:  Sheriff’s levy

Here is the authorized BALLOT LANGUAGE you will see on your May 17th ballot:

Question – Shall County maintain levy funded jail beds and critical youth treatment services levying $0.55 per $1,000 assessed valuation, commencing 2018?

This measure renews current local option taxes.

Summary: Passage of this measure will allow Lane County to: Maintain a minimum of 255 local jail beds for the five year period.

Increased jail capacity has substantially improved the Sheriff’s ability to hold those accused or convicted of violent crimes until their cases are resolved. Continue to provide additional counseling, secure treatment and detention services for Lane County youth offenders. This ensures that more community youth offenders receive the treatment that they need.

The funds generated from this tax must be placed into a restricted special revenue fund specifically earmarked for the jail and youth services.

An external auditor will annually present, in a public forum, an independent audit report to the Sheriff and the Lane County Board of County Commissioners to ensure accountability.

After five years, this tax rate automatically sunsets, unless reapproved by Lane County voters.

This measure generates revenue for five years beginning in 2018, and for the median home in Lane County, valued at $175,679 in 2016, the annual tax payment will be approximately $96.62. The estimated tax cost for this measure is an estimate only based on the best information available from the county assessor at the time of estimate and may reflect the impact of early payment discounts, compression and the collection rate. 2018-$17,796,345; 2019-$18,152,272; 2020-$18,515,317; 2021- $18,885,623; 2022-$19,263,336.

 

A safer Lane County. by Pat Farr

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2016
Sheriff Byron Trapp is working with County Commissioners to make Lane County a safer place to live.

Sheriff Byron Trapp is working with County Commissioners to make Lane County a safer place to live.

Six years ago, in 2010, a prior board of Lane County Commissioners cut funding for rural Sheriff’s Deputy patrol to 16 hours per day–leaving Lane County residents and visitors without on-duty patrol response for eight hours every day.

During my first year of office the current Board of Commissioners restored funding for 24-hour patrol in the 2013-14 fiscal year and the Sheriff’s Office initiated recruitment, hiring and training immediately following the return of funding.

The process of hiring and training a new deputy takes more than 12 months, including written and physical testing, a rigorous interview, in-depth background check, medical and psychological examinations, 16 weeks of academy training and 15 weeks of field training.

Sheriff Byron Trapp explained, “Returning to 24-hour patrol means that we can respond more quickly to life-threatening, in-progress calls rather than calling in off-duty staff, which can create significant delays in service.”

Lane County has high standards for its deputies and the Sheriff has rebuilt a very talented and dedicated team focused on providing Lane County with quality public safety services.

Which View Best Describes Downtown Eugene

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2016

1. Makes me feel much less safe and less likely to go to businesses there.
2. Makes me feel somewhat less safe and less likely to go to businesses there.
3. Does not make me feel less safe and has no effect on whether I would go to businesses there.

For complete poll results, click here.

Downtown Eugene Crime Problem Trends in Wrong Direction

Wednesday, February 17th, 2016

How would you rate the crime problem in downtown Eugene?

For complete poll results, click here.

Lane County continues to exceed “promises” made on 2014 Sheriff’s Levy. by Pat Farr

Saturday, February 13th, 2016

 

THE SHERIFF’S LEVY PASSED IN 2013 IS MAKING LANE COUNTY A SAFER PLACE TO LIVE  (And a much worse place to commit a crime)

Sheriff Turner and I celebrate the passage of 20-213 on May 21 2013

Sheriff Turner and I celebrate the passage of 20-213 on May 21 2013

When Lane County Commissioners asked for passage of ballot measure 20-213, a levy to assure increased public safety in Lane County by opening more jail beds, 255 beds were promised.

20 more jail beds were reopened Saturday February 13, 2016, bringing the number of beds available for local offenders to the highest number in 13 years, 317. Again, a very big thank you to all of you involved in making this happen and accommodating the media this week to help share this important news with the community.

On February 13, a headline in the Register-Guard accurately stated:  “Lane County audit verifies spending of jail money “ and continued, stating “The audit, conducted by Moss Adams, a Eugene accounting firm, determined that the county kept at least 255 local adult beds and at least 16 youth detention and drug and alcohol treatment beds open, as promised to voters. The audit covers the fiscal year that ran from July 1, 2014, to June 30, 2015.”

For a full copy of the Moss Adams audit report, including the Board of Commissioners agenda item summary from January 26, 2015 click:  Moss Adams Report

 

Increased Oregon Gun Restrictions a Toss Up

Thursday, January 28th, 2016

Do you support or oppose increasing restrictions on gun ownership?

For complete poll results, click here.

Oregon’s Gun Background Check Continues to Receive Overwhelming Support

Thursday, January 21st, 2016

Do you approve or disapprove of requiring criminal background checks for private gun transfers?

For complete poll results, click here.